Sutter Cancer Centers
Paul - Diagnosed with Advanced Lung Cancer, and Living to Share the Story
At age 79 Paul considered himself pretty healthy. He was known as the “active guy” on his block, making frequent walking trips to his local grocery store. A few months ago he noticed that it took him longer to catch is breath after activity. And one day a fall at his home led him by ambulance to Sutter Roseville Medical Center’s Emergency Department.
After an examination and a few tests, Paul was sent in for imaging studies. The X-rays showed signs of cancer and he was referred to Gurvinder Shaheed, M.D., a Sutter Oncologist in Auburn. An MRI revealed that he had very advanced lung cancer. It was already spread to lymph nodes and bones. Dr. Shaheed gave Paul the sobering news. With cancer this rapid and invasive, Paul was told that he may only have a few months to live.
But Paul and his oncologist didn’t give up. With Dr. Shaheed’s guidance, Paul started an aggressive treatment regime that included radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
“I was worried about the effects the treatment would have,” said Paul. “But radiation wasn’t too bad and chemotherapy turned into a social hangout. I got to meet many new people who knew what I was going through – and the staff always made me feel like family.”
After six months, Paul had a PET scan to see if the treatment was having any positive effects on reducing his cancer. To both Paul and Dr. Shaheed’s surprise there were no signs of tumors. He was in remission.
“When Dr. Shaheed saw my MRI he was so delighted,” said Paul. “After another few months we had a second PET scan that also showed that there was still no cancer, I couldn’t help but burst out in laughter.”
Some would call Paul’s outcome a miracle. Paul believes it was a combination of his positive attitude, support from his family and his medical network, including Dr. Shaheed.
“Dr. Shaheed is a wonderful doctor,” said Paul. “My family has been in medicine for more than 150 years and I have been around many doctors. Dr. Shaheed is top-notch not only with his bedside manner, but also keeping up with the current treatments and research.”
Still in remission, Paul is working on regaining his strength to combat the peripheral neuropathy he acquired as a side effect from chemotherapy. He exercises a few times a day and enjoys the company of his extended family. He also doesn’t hesitate to share his story as an inspiration for others, emphasizing that cancer is not a dead end.
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